Saturday, July 2, 2011

Every Time the Left Sins God Sends Another Working-Class American to the Tea Party

The Left in the US must blame itself for its weakness and inability to draw in lager numbers of working-class Americans into its fold. Walter Benjamin wrote that, "behind every fascism is a failed revolution." The growing popularity of the Tea Party movement in the US is the resulting failure of Leftists to address righteous popular anger over corrupt politics. I think there are several reasons for this.

Many Leftists articulate American working-class needs by using overly intellectual rhetoric. The Left does not need to dumb down information, just break it down. Many Leftists use other countries' revolutionaries and revolutions as symbols of liberation and outright ignore American equivalents. What about heroes of struggle such as Thomas Paine,John Brown, and Mary Harris "Mother" Jones? What about celebrating movements such as the BOSTON TEA PARTY? What is so amusing about the right-wing using the Boston Tea party, as a symbol of their movement, is that its very history undermines much of their political positions. The Boston Tea Party of 1773 sabotaged commerce, destroyed private property, and broke the rule of law, for the greater moral value of actual justice, opposed to legal injustice. The Boston Tea Party of 1773 fits more into the tradition of progressives than so-called conservatives. On a more extreme level,one could argue that the Boston Tea Party has more similarities with the Earth Liberation Front than it does with the Republican Party or the twenty-first century Tea Party.

I argue that the Tea Party is not truly conservative anyway. Two of the most popular politicians in the Tea Party movement are Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. Both are women. Women being involved in politics and having the right to vote is not a conservative value, if "conservative" means going back to the proverbial good ol' days. The Founding Fathers, limited in their wisdom, would have told them to stay home, make babies, and cook for their husbands. It was liberal women and radical women that fought the law to get the right for women to become active members of politics. Liberals and leftists are accused of breaking with tradition: for picking and choosing ethics opportunistically. That is exactly what the right-wing does. When there was prayer in public schools there was legalized racial segregation and children working in sweat-shops: most right-wingers do not openly claim to want all of those things, hence they are not truly conservative, they are right-wing liberals.

A large portion of the Tea Party's constituency rightly are disgusted with the bank bailouts that Bush started and Obama continued. Somehow the Tea Party has convinced working Americans that this is socialism. Big finance manipulates the government to save capitalism at the American public's expense and this is socialism? No my fellow Americans, this is the natural outgrowth of Capitalism. The saddest naivety is the belief that big business is a better alternative to big government. The world is not marching into global one-world-order-socialism, it is crashing into disaster neo-liberal capitalism. Why is Republican Congressman Ron Paul viewed as a fringe politician and not fully endorsed by the financial sector? Because he has faith in the "free-market." Big capitalists do not want a free-market, they want Government to intervene on their behalf: in favor of capitalists and against the working-class or any other obstacle. Big business favors its international agenda at the expense of America or any other country, NAFTA is a good example. These are some of the points the Left in America should be exposing to the public at large. This great country is falling apart, is being ripped apart, and the actual creators of this destruction need to be stopped.

I picked two music videos. One is an official Tea Party Video and the other appears to be an average American musician. The lyrics in their songs demonstrate much of what this blog discussed.


Devin Z. Shaw said...

Joshua, I still have my doubts about this approach. Wrestling with the Tea Party about Boston seems to be a losing battle, hegemonically speaking.

One of the primary problems of the Left in the US is the confusion between the electoral left and the activist left; most Americans do not consider that politics extends beyond the goal of winning at electoral politics--even the Tea Party, since it is well financed by right-wing groups whose ultimate goal is electoral power.

Now, if we just look at the radical left: I can see your point about the historical narrative, which is largely located in Europe. But if we present a narrative of North American struggle, it can't focus on searching out its origins in American independence. We cannot, and should not, attempt to out-jingoize the Right (which isn't your point, but the issue could be lurking there).

The radical left has a much stronger history with abolitionism, the IWW and union activism (Eugene V. Debs, anybody?), and the Harlem Renaissance, than the transfer of power from the British to American bourgeoisie. Nevertheless, the symbolic reference points take on gravity from organization rather than the reverse.

Joshua said...

I agree with you about the issues regarding electoral power. My main point is that the radical Left in the US seems to not make full use of our own history; our men and women of struggle such as the folks and groups you just mentioned. When they do it still comes off as academic and somehow foreign. Another point I'm trying to make is that we can pick and choose from our history just as the right-wing does.

And nationalism can mean concerns that focus on the immediate problems of a nation. Our re-articulation of terms, our use of language, can make our ideas more palatable. I return to the illustration of Ron Paul.He is anti-war and loved by many in the military and lots of NRA guys. How is that? He articulates anti-war as being in America's best interest. I think we could utilize this approach and sill include our solidarity outside strictly nationalist lines. After all, even Bush did not just go to Iraq based on US interests; he went to free Iraqis right?;)